LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles radio personality said Monday he would apologize for an on-air skit that made fun of the deaths of hundreds of Muslims, but only if an Islamic civil rights group denounces terrorism and acknowledges Israel’s right to exist.
The Council of American Islamic Relations demanded the apology last week after KFI 640 host Bill Handel made fun of the deaths of at least 363 Muslims during a stampede at an annual pilgrimage in Mecca.
According to CAIR, Handel imitated the people screaming and then joked that the Muslims at the pilgrimage should use a helicopter to monitor pilgrimage traffic, as is done with Los Angeles’ freeway traffic.
On his program Monday, Handel said he would apologize, but only if CAIR agreed to denounce “all bombing or attacks where intended victims are innocent citizens,” to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty and to verify that the group has never had connections with any terrorist group or sponsor.
If those conditions are met, “I’ll be more than happy to apologize for offending people, I’ll apologize all day long,” Handel said in a live 12-minute response to CAIR’s complaint. He said the station had received hundreds of letters from all over the world demanding an apology.
“CAIR’s record is clear. We’ve had numerous statements denouncing terrorism and all the things he was talking about,” said CAIR spokeswoman Sabiha Khan.
She called Handel’s conditions a “smoke screen” for his refusal to take responsibility for his remarks.